From Kook Science
|Born||Date of birth unknown|
Linlithgow, Linlithgowshire, Scotland, U.K.
Yorkshire, England, U.K.[P]
John Spence was a Scottish shoemaker and autodidactic mechanic who received press coverage in 1818 for his claims to have devised a perpetual motion machine using magnets. In his home country, Spence was also well-known for his building of various human-powered vehicles, including novel velocipedes, which he drove around in Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as an early mobile home, which he resided in for some years.
- Ed. (May 1818), "Notice Respecting Some Curious Mechanical Inventions by John Spence, in Linlithgow", Edinburgh Magazine (Edinburgh: Archibald Constable & Co.): 408-409, https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Edinburgh_magazine_and_literary_misc/2OAEAAAAQAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&pg=PA408
- Y. Z. (June 1818), "Further Account of John Spence's Inventions", Edinburgh Magazine (Edinburgh: Archibald Constable & Co.): 528-531, https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Edinburgh_magazine_and_literary_misc/2OAEAAAAQAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&pg=PA528
- Anon. (27 June 1818), "MECHANICS: PERPETUAL MOTION.", The Literary Gazette (75): 413
JOHN SPENCE, of Linlithgow, Scotland, has applied the magnetic power to the production of a perpetual motion. This person was in early life apprenticed to a shoemaker, but the natural bent of his genius for mechanics overcame every obstacle; he soon got to be keeper of a steam engine in a spinning factory at Glasgow, and, after two years' study in this school, retired to his native place to pursue the shoemaking for a livelihood, and wheels, levers, &c. for the gratification of his own taste. The perpetual motion was an object worthy of such a devotee; and we find that he has invented a piece of mechanism which is doubly curious, for its own powers, and has been accomplished. It is not easy to convey an idea of it without plates.
"A wooden beam, poised by the centre, has a piece of steel attached to one end of it, which is alternately drawn up by a piece of magnet placed above it, and down by another placed below it: as the end of the beam approaches the magnet, either above or below, the machine interjects a non-conducting substance, which suspends the attraction of the end of the magnet approached, and allows the other to exert his powers. Thus the beam continually ascends and descends betwixt the two magnets, without ever coming into contact with either; the attractive power of each being suspended precisely at the moment of nearest approach. And as the magnetic attraction is a permanently operating power, there appears to be no limit to the continuance of the motion, but the endurance of the materials of the machine."
- Price, Richard (9 July 1825), "SPENCE'S PERPETUAL MOTION.", Mechanics Magazine (98): 194-195, https://books.google.com/books?id=rboAAAAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA194
- Ch. (1854), "JOHN SPENCE, A NATURAL MECHANICAL GENIUS", Chambers' Pocket Miscellany (Edinburgh: W. and R. Chambers) 6: 55-58, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044090311515&view=1up&seq=261